Unexpected find

Silver Wing monument at Montgomery-Waller Recreation Center in Otay Mesa, San Diego, California

Silver Wing monument at Montgomery-Waller Recreation Center in Otay Mesa, San Diego, California. (Wikimedia).

John Joseph Montgomery (February 15, 1858 – October 31, 1911) was an American inventor, physicist, engineer,  known for his invention of controlled heavier-than-air flying machines.

Between the years 1884 and 1886, Montgomery, a native of Yuba City, California,  made the first manned, controlled, flights in a heavier-than-air flying machine in the United States, using a series of gliders in Otay Mesa near San Diego, California.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Joseph_Montgomery

Montgomery’s name was unfamiliar to me and yet interesting because clearly he was a pioneer of aviation in the United States.  He was killed in 1911 when his glider “The Evergreen” crashed on October 31st.  There was even a movie made about him, called Gallant Journey, (1946, Directed by Wiliam A. Wellman) starring Glenn Ford as Montgomery.

And how is this connected in any way with what I was doing on a cold Sunday afternoon?  I was looking at the history of the Convair B-32 “Dominator” – the lost, superfluous bomber of the second world war, of which little or nothing survives.

A few years ago in 2008 an artist erected a memorial to Montgomery in California in the shape of a wing – it has a very high aspect ratio as you can see from the picture.  The Wikipedia article writer says it’s a glider wing.  Other articles claim that it is in fact the outer wing section of a B-32. If so, it’s  probably the largest piece of B-32 extant worldwide.

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